|Zak shaped his first surfboard at 13 in a lean-to down the side of his parent’s house in Viewbank and offered surfboard repairs to mates and local surf shops during his teenage years. He would catch a bus all the way to Trigger Bros to pick up blanks and resin to fuel his passion. Persisting despite being told by various people on many occasions that there wasn’t a cent to be made in shaping surfboards, selling clothes was where money was to be made in the surf industry. Indicatively, Zak kept shaping and repairing boards and his retail store which he opened in Thornbury in 1999 contains barely a thread of clothing.
His first store in Thornbury packed 86 surfboards, a wall of accessories, a bunch of skateboards and wetsuits into a 6×3 metre shop in which customers had to walk around single-file to view his range. Zak Surfboards is now located at 307 Victoria Road Thornbury, on the corner of Raleigh Street and stocks one of the biggest ranges of surfboards in Victoria. A real surf hardware store, not a clothes shop with a few boards for eye candy.
Through the Zak Surfboards store, Zak has made contacted and given continuing support to many local shapers including Maurice Cole, Greg Brown, Dave Boyd, Rousa, Doug Rogers, Simon Forward, Ken Reimers, Vanda, Michael Anthony, Jordan Nobel, Sean Nettleton, Darren Dickson and Andrew Stump.
More recently, Zak has spent time in Hawaii and the United States seeking out some of the best shapers in the world including Eric Arakawa, Jeff Bushman, John Pyzel and Matt ‘Mayhem’ Biolos – bringing back a ranges of their boards sourced directly from their actual factories. Real boards from the actual shaper rather than their designs made under license locally. The idea being to offer a choice of the best surfboards direct from Australian and international suppliers.
Over time, Zak moved away from shaping to run the shop and sought out local shapers to produce the Zak range. Today the surfboards are manufactured on the iconic Surf Coast of Victoria by many of the local shapers Zak has made contact with over the years.